High Meadows Fund: Environmental Philanthropy Fellow

Apply here. (Applications due Friday, January 25, 2019)

Non-U.S. citizens are not eligible to apply for this position.

Website: http://www.highmeadowsfund.org/

Location: Burlington, VT

Fellowship Position

Position title: Environmental Philanthropy Fellow

Department: The High Meadows Fund

Reports to: President

Address of fellowship placement: 77 College Street, Burlington, VT

Department Description

The High Meadows Fund (HMF) promotes vibrant communities and a healthy natural environment while encouraging long-term economic vitality in Vermont. Founded in 2004, HMF is a philanthropic organization based in Burlington, Vermont, connected to the Vermont Community Foundation, www.vermontcf.org. VCF helps build philanthropic resources to sustain healthy and vital Vermont communities and awards over $12 million in grants each year. High Meadows supports leadership and innovation in three overlapping areas of focus:


  • Land Use: Encouraging working farms and forests, compact settlements, and land use that protects upstream and downstream communities, soil, and water quality. 
  • Farm, Food and Forest Enterprises: Improving the economic viability of enterprises that build markets for Vermont farm and forest products while maintaining healthy soils, clean water, and sustainable natural systems. 
  • Clean and Efficient Energy: Promoting efficiency, reducing waste, and lowering fossil fuel use, especially in low income communities.

Please see our website, www.highmeadowsfund.org, for more information. 

Position Description

The High Meadows fellow reports directly to Gaye Symington, President of the High Meadows Fund. With a staff of just 3.6 full time employees (including the fellow), this position is crucial to the organization’s operation. HMF’s work expands beyond grantmaking: We take a planning and convening role in initiatives relating to HMF’s mission; engage in research projects; participate in statewide networks; and undertake collaborative opportunities with individuals and organizations working in our areas of focus. The fellow will be instrumental in assessing opportunities where philanthropic support could make the greatest impact and sharing what we learn, through blog posts and social media.

Examples of specific responsibilities, projects, tasks, and/or duties of the Fellow include:

The fellow will be an active participant in the work of the board of directors, which meets 7 times throughout the year. In preparation for these meetings the fellow is expected to: 

  • Assess grant proposals and prepare recommendations to co-workers and the Board of Directors. These recommendations are typically written, and may involve further discussions in person, by phone, or at formal board meetings;
  • Assess outcomes, effectiveness, and impact of HMF grantmaking;
  • Coordinate logistics for board meetings, site visits, and larger convenings; and
  • Prepare for and provide follow-up for board meetings. 
  • Provide research, writing and social media support for High Meadows’ evolving communications strategies.
  • The High Meadows Fellow currently coordinates the Vermont Changemakers’ Table, a partnership between HMF and the Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility. The group meets quarterly for meals and conversation between those entering careers and those with experience leading change-making organizations. The fellow participates in these meetings and has a lead role in designing the schedule, recruiting each cohort and coordinating these meetings. 
  • In recent years, High Meadows has initiated several larger grant initiatives. As these develop, the fellow could play a role in reviewing applications, assessing impact and lessons, and setting out new directions for next phases of the work.
  • Participate in conferences and discussions with board members, funding partners, and other stakeholders across the state.
  • Provide support and engage in HMF or Vermont Community Foundation-sponsored initiatives and convenings.

In addition to these responsibilities, the fellow is encouraged to pursue opportunities for growth in areas of particular interest, especially in the second year of the fellowship. The president will work with the fellow to design projects based on their interests, skills, experience, and opportunities that arise due to our engagement with grantees and stakeholders. 


  • Excellent writing, organizational, administrative, and problem-solving skills;
  • Self-motivated, independent, and enterprising. Willing to speak up to create opportunities of value to HMF and the fellow;
  • Ability to prioritize and ask clarifying questions when needed. Available for assignments as they arise;
  • Curiosity and experience following a line of inquiry;
  • Interest in working in a fast-paced organization committed to learning and innovation;
  • Articulate and outgoing. Able to represent HMF at meetings, convenings, and conferences;
  • Detail-oriented and highly dependable;
  • Commitment to the purposes and values of the High Meadows Fund and social justice, including a belief/interest/curiosity in the power of philanthropy to effect positive societal change;
  • Excellent computer skills, including experience with Microsoft Office, database management, basic web-based platforms, etc.

Professional Development

The Fellow will find many opportunities from professional development, from topical webinars hosted by national funder networks to conferences hosted by statewide or regional networks, such as Vermont Farm to Plate and Antioch University’s Eastern Climate Preparedness Conference. The High Meadows Fund staff is attentive to the developing skills interests of the Fellow and will regularly point the Fellow in the direction of potential professional development opportunities. Board meetings, too, are highly informative and interactive; differing opinions are valued, and the fellow is encouraged to engage in these discussions. The Fellow is encouraged to seek out opportunities for learning and training relevant to their work at the High Meadows Fund.